Dec. 18 can't come soon enough for fans of Star Wars eager to see what The Force Awakens has in store for that galaxy far, far away.
Beyond the official synopsis (“Han Solo and his allies face a new threat from the evil Kylo Ren and his army of Stormtroopers.”), the film's plot has been kept under tight wraps. Here's what we know so far:
Taking place years after the events of Return of the Jedi, evil still exists in the form of the First Order, which is basically a modern-day Galactic Empire with an even deadlier Death Star called the Starkiller. We also know that there is a character named Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and that Lupita Nyong'o is playing a character named Maz Kanata, and that many of the classic Star Wars actors are reprising their roles.
In the absence of confirmed plot details, fans have rushed to fill the void with theories. Many of them are based on the fact that Luke Skywalker is not pictured in any of the posters or the trailers. Other theories are pieced together from the snippets of footage, interviews with the cast and director, TV spots, posters, trailers, the Star Wars books, and any other tidbit of information that has been released so far. There is a possibility of spoilers if any of these wild hypotheses turn out to be true.
Jar Jar Binks is back
At one point during the trailer, Rey is seen crying over the body of a fallen comrade who has a suspiciously hairy-looking outline. Movie Pilot lays out a pretty compelling argument that Chewie, the beloved walking carpet, takes one for the team, setting off a bomb to take out the bad guys while saving his friends. The evidence stems from a close analysis of the action in the fourth teaser trailer and, well, it’s not looking good for the Wookie.
Plausibility: 20% There are some clues that Chewie may survive the explosion, simply taking a page out of the Skywalker playbook and losing an arm. A bionic Chewie is definitely better than no Chewie.
Rey and Kylo Ren are twins
What if these two new characters are actually the children of Han and Leia? This theory stems from the Star Wars Expanded Universe books, where Han and Leia get married and have twins, a boy and a girl named Jaina and Jacen, and a son named Anakin. In the books, the children were frequently sent to distant planets for safe keeping, so it’s possible that Rey is sent to Jakku while Kylo Ren is off learning to walk in Grandpa Darth Vader’s footsteps to the Dark Side. (Abrams has said, “[Kylo Ren] works under Supreme Leader Snoke, who is a powerful figure on the Dark Side of the Force.”)
Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that Abrams told Entertainment Weekly he intentionally did away with last names for Rey and Kylo (Ren is a title, just like Darth). It would be too obvious if their last name was Solo, right?
Need more evidence? In one of the official posters for the new film, it looks like Rey and Kylo Ren are facing off against each other, which could make some pretty exciting inter-family drama, which, of course, is what the Star Wars saga thrives on. As Radio Times points out, it could also explain why Leia and Han look so upset in the trailer.
Plausibility: 40% While this storyline would make a lot of fans happy, Disney has said that the Star Wars sequels are original stories, so it’s not especially likely. It doesn’t hurt to dream though.
Rey is Han and Leia’s daughter
In a similar vein to the twins theory, some fans are theorizing that after living happily ever after, Leia and Han had just one daughter—Rey. To protect her from the ever-present Dark Side and galactic bad guys on the hunt for Skywalkers and their Jedi predilections, Han and Leia decide to hide her away on the desert planet of Jakku.
So when Ridley revealed during the Star Wars Celebration in April that her character is a scavenger currently living on a desert planet named Jakku, fans were curious. And later, she is photographed in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon. As one fan on Reddit points out, who would Han let fly his beloved ship, but his daughter?
For additional support for this theory, look no further than the international trailer where Rey tells BB-8: "I know all about waiting ...for my family." Plus, in the new TV spots, Lupita Nyong'o's character, Maz Kanata, tells Rey: "I have lived long enough to see the same eyes in different people. I see your eyes. I know your eyes." Who flashes on the screen? Han Solo.
Plausibility: 80% Rey is a central character in The Force Awakens and since Star Wars is basically a family drama it's a solid bet that she is related to somebody fans already know and love.
Finn is Leia and Lando Calrissian’s son
Here’s what we know about Finn (John Boyega): he is a Stormtrooper, who may be having doubts about his alliance with The First Order, and eventually teams up with Rey and the Resistance. He also eventually has an epic lightsaber battle with Kylo Ren.
It’s that lightsaber that has fans thinking Finn just might have a little Skywalker in him. This theory stems from the idea that if Leia and Han Solo didn’t last as a couple, Leia would instead end up with Han’s gambling buddy, Lando Calrissian. (Are there so few men in the galaxy?) But Finn could also simply be Lando’s son with another mother entirely or not related to Lando at all. However, Billy Dee Williams has hinted that he may make an appearance in the new Star Wars movies and a site called SuperBroMovies noticed that an Amazon listing for a Star Wars: The Force Awakens puzzle describes Finn as Lando’s son. It could be an error, as ScreenRant points out Amazon listings are written by the seller, but it wouldn’t be the first time that a movie’s merchandise leaked a plot point.
Plausibility: 30% Abrams has intentionally not announced Finn's last name, which hints that it could be a clue to Finn's family tree.
Kylo Ren wants to bring back Darth Vader
Based on the trailers, it’s clear that Kylo Ren is very interested in Darth Vader. While Abrams has confirmed he’s not a Sith, Kylo’s mask is an homage to the Sith Lord. “The movie explains the origins of the mask and where it’s from, but the design was meant to be a nod to the Vader mask,” Abrams told Entertainment Weekly. “[Ren] is well aware of what’s come before, and that’s very much a part of the story of the film.”
We know that Kylo is working with The First Order, apprenticed under Snoke, got his name when he joined a group called the Knights of Ren and is searching for a weapon. But what’s his mission? According to one theory put forward by io9, Kylo Ren may be trying to resurrect Darth Vader either literally or just as a part of The Force like Obi Wan’s ghost, but, you know, evil. It would explain why in the international trailer Kylo seems to be telling Darth Vader's bedraggled mask, "I will finish what you started."
Plausibility: 40%. Kylo is probably bringing back Vader metaphorically, but probably not literally, although cloning is quite popular in Star Wars. While it would be kind of awesome if Vader came back, it seems unlikely that Abrams would resurrect the same old villain for the reboot. This is Star Wars, not The Smurfs.
Luke Skywalker is in exile
Jason Ward, the editor-in-chief of fan site Making Star Wars, wrote a piece about the “State of Luke Skywalker,” claiming that in The Force Awakens Luke Skywalker has taken a page out of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s book and put himself into a self-imposed exile. “Luke Skywalker has become the most powerful Jedi ever, but he doesn’t believe he’s the wisest,” wrote Ward. To keep the Force in check, instead of fighting evil in every corner of the galaxy, Luke spends his days meditating and accidentally floating the furniture with the magic of the Force.
Wired notes in its rumors roundup, that Luke could be on the run, while Ward wrote another piece arguing that Luke has gone M.I.A. in order to protect an ancient Sith tomb and his lightsaber, which may be the key to unlocking a dark Sith secret. That idea is so crazy it just might work, especially if Kylo Ren comes looking for the lightsaber.
Plausibility: 60% Even if Luke is in exile for the bulk of the film, it is wildly preferable to the theory that Luke is dead.
Luke Skywalker has gone to the Dark Side
As CinemaBlend notes, many people believe that The Force Awakens will reveal a shocking twist for Star Wars fans—Luke Skywalker has become a Sith Lord. Fan Rob Conery has made a thorough argument as to why this might be the case. In short, “Luke gave in to the Dark Side to save his friends and defeat Vader and the Emperor.” It makes sense and it could explain why Luke has been completely absent from the Star Wars posters and trailers. Plus, in a 2006 appearance on Dinner for Five, Mark Hamill said that he always figured Luke would turn to the Dark Side eventually.
Plausibility: 50% Making Star Wars claims that insiders describe Luke as “creepy and frightening in appearance” and you can see “the fire in his eyes." Does that mean he's gone Dark? Maybe. That said, would Abrams actually dare to tarnish Skywalker’s legacy? Also, maybe.
Luke is Yoda
While J.J. Abrams has said that “Ren is totally not a Sith,” he definitely has a fixation with the Dark Side. If Kylo Ren is Dark, the Force would need to be balanced by someone good. In the 30 years since Return of the Jedi, Luke has probably picked up a few new skills that he could pass on to the next generation of padawans. He could step into Yoda's tiny Muppet footsteps and start training a new generation of Jedis, especially if it turns out he is related to Rey and/or Finn. Based on the third trailer, it's clear that Finn knows his way around a lightsaber and who better to teach him than (Uncle) Luke?
Plausibility: 80% Who else is going to teach those younguns how to use a lightsaber?
The Resistance is hiding out on Boba Fett's planet
Jabba the Hutt’s favorite bounty hunter has always been one of the most mysterious figures in the Star Wars universe, but The Force Awakens may offer some clues into his world. Eagle-eyed fans have noticed that banners hanging outside the temple in one scene of the third trailer are emblazoned with Mandalorian symbols similar to those worn by Boba Fett. Does this mean some of the action will be taking place on his home planet of Mandalore? If so, it would be the first film depiction of the planet of the bounty hunter who is "simultaneously alive and dead in the Sarlaac Pit until a story pulls him out."
Another rumor is that the temple is actually on the moon Yavin IV, which is not only home base for the Resistance, but also the hideout of pirate Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong'o).
Plausibility: 50% Boba's long been a fan favorite; bringing him back to the big screen would make J.J. an instant hero with the Star Wars crowd.